I was overjoyed to be able to get this one going, since after playing G1 Timoschenko's Attack, I've been skipping around in the General, playing G6, G7, G8, and G15. When I saw a guy post on Gamequad looking for PBEM which said he'd play anything, I jumped and sent a PM right away.
So far, this is perhaps the most fun I've had in an e-mail game. It's easily the most AFV-Intensive scenario I've played, with 13 tanks under my command, going up against 5 very good German vehicles, an AT gun and three little AA guns, the latter of which are no threat to my AFVs. The best thing about my tanks is all the smoke options--regular smoke, white phosphorous, and smoke mortars. I've been going crazy with it, too much, even blocking my own shots; but it's nice to maneuver relatively unhindered.
|After American turn 1|
This is a very long scenario at ten turns. But I like it! So far, the game has been just maneuvering and getting into position, with the tanks stalking one another. And I'm grateful this is an email game because the AFV game feels a lot more like Chess, requires more planning, and, for one at my level of rules knowledge, plenty of time looking things up to make sure I can do certain things. Mastering the intricacies of Smoke is particularly troublesome.
After my initial Smoke barrage didn't work out the way I wanted it to, I decided to avoid going up the middle and instead I split my forces in two. The plan was to go around the flanks and conduct a pincer movement, coming at the town from behind, which would also deny a lot of fire opportunities to the German VGs at the outset. This worked out well and one tank of mine was able to take out a VG early on with a side shot. And I pushed on.
Group left dismounted the infantry early on. I was hoping to set up a firebase in the stone building there in P2, but German OBA stymied that plan. Thankfully, the OBA didn't actually kill anyone, and I was able to spread out enough that, given all the inaccuracies and so on, the Germans eventually ran out of black cards. The German JdgPz moved forward a bit in this sector, but I was able to position a tank to cover the O hexrow with side-aspect shots, forcing one of them to back up again.
But I kept flanking left, taking three tanks around the Gully--these would get into a position to fire on the JgPzs in the rear with impunity, really.
The annoying part, to me, was that this move took too long. I wanted to push ahead with my infantry--tanks alone don't capture buildings--but I couldn't take the rout I'd originally planned for as long as those JgPzs stood in my way. So I decided to run them off to the left of the hedge and up toward the Gully, using the smoke for cover. I will still be able to reach my goal, but in a longer time. I'm beginning to wonder at some point whether I'm too focussed on the tank game here: the VCs are about building control, not tank-busting. But the AFVs are so much fun!!
Meanwhile on the right flank, I push on toward the cemetery. My plan here is to get the infantry in there to assault the church, which is one of my objectives. (As of now, I'm thinking I won't even try for the market building.) And the Germans, during their turn, move both of the VGs over to that direction, which is a scary proposition, since we're up against the board-edge. There's not much room to maneuver here, since he's going around the cemetery, and I don't want to drive my AFVs in there without my infantry scouting it out first. But as he's moving one up, he opens himself up to a side shot from one of my stopped AFVs--do I make a Motion attempt or fire? If I fire, I'm a sitting duck, and frontal armour facing or no, if that 75LL gun hits me, I'd dead. But I take the shot--miss. Since he's in Bypass and spent 2 MP, I go again. Who cares if I Malf my gun with IF? I'm dead anyway.
And I miss again. But I was worried about nothing, because in the DFPh I have a guy fire smoke to cover me. In my next movement phase, I play fast and loose with my heavy tank, which gets Burned to a crit; but at least all the smoke and wreckage gives cover to my over AFVs to extricate themselves from the oncoming VGs. I get everyone dismounted and ready to move into the cemetery under a massive smokescreen.
|Situation Right Flank Turn 3|
But I'm still worried about those Panthers--what's he going to do? he could charge forward like a raging bull; with front AF of 18 there's not much I could do. I move one AFV behind the burning tank, figuring that if he does that I'll get a side shot. On the other hand, they might go back around, threatening my flanks. The best I can figure to do is utilize my smoke Mortars and lay down Acquisition during the AFPh along likely avenues of approach. Not that this would necessarily stop them, but at least I may be able to get an acquired side-aspect shot out before I die.
However, both the the Panthers take a completely different approach. Instead, they turn tail and flee into the interior of the village hoping, I suppose, to threaten my other flanking force and also make it more difficult to outmanouvre them. The German infantry begins to fall back into the victory buildings, at once opening up space for me to advance but also solidifying the defense. And so turn 4 starts out with both JgdPzs seriously threatened, but one of the Panthers is threatening me back. I'm still not in the town, but I'm on the brink of getting in somewhere. I'm excited to see this play out.